Boris Becker on Ilie Nastase: ‘He is NOT a racist!’
Boris Becker says Romanian tennis legend Ilie Nastase ‘is not a racist’, but has called on Nastase to apologise in person to Serena Williams and accept fines from the International Tennis Federation and Women’s Tennis Association.
Ilie Nastase caused huge controversy at the Fed Cup tie between Romania and Great Britain in April when he made an offensive remark about Serena Williams' unborn child, saying: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase in the royal box on Centre Court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 6, 2015Reuters
Nastase was also accused of making sexist remarks towards British captain Anne Keothavong, repeatedly asking her for her room number.
And the Romanian team captain was subsequently banned from attending courtside after an expletive-laden outburst that caused Johanna Konta to leave the court in tears.
But, Becker has defender Nastase, saying he has a tendency to make unfunny jokes:
“I know him since 1984, played singles against him and on many occasions doubles spent many dinners together,” Becker explained. “Ilie is NOT a racist!!! He makes jokes about everybody (unfortunately not very funny sometimes) and should apologise in person to Serena Williams and Jo K."
Becker, who won six Grand Slams during his playing career, says that Nastase should be fined but shouldn’t face a ban for his behaviour:
“He should be fined by the ITF/WTA and monies should go to their charities but shouldn't be banned by the tennis community,” Becker said. “Ilie is part of our tennis history and responsible, with so many other legends in the game, that today's players can make a proper living.”